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Archived Author Help > The pressure is killing me

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message 1: by Ahmed (new)

Ahmed Al-Sheikh | 48 comments I have a major opportunity, but to get it, I've been given a condition: finish my new book in a month. I'm on chapter 4, and the book still needs about 10 more chapters, and these chapters are huge.

I don't know if I should burn myself out trying to finish this in a month, or risk losing the opportunity by asking for more time.

message 2: by Eva (new)

Eva Pasco (evapasco) | 90 comments Ahmed,
Here is when you reflect on why you write in the first place. For me, it's to tell a story the best way I know how according to my gut instincts. Everything else is extraneous.

It is your decision. I'm not one to sell my soul for what someone dangles in front of me. Best wishes!

message 3: by T.L. (new)

T.L. Clark (tlcauthor) | 727 comments Yeah, if the offer's good then they should be flexible. Ask for an extension. If you rush you're likely to regret it.


message 4: by Lyra (new)

Lyra Shanti (lyrashanti) | 126 comments Agree with everyone else. It's nearly impossible to write well under such time constraints. Don't do it. Ask for an extension.

message 5: by G.G. (last edited Jul 18, 2016 04:45AM) (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 2491 comments It's hard to advise you without knowing the opportunity. It could be one of those vanity presses and then we'd all say don't do it. First, does it have to be edited by then? Or do they only want the draft ready. People do it in the national novel month for challenge. Many find it tough. Few succeed. You can always try it and if you can't, ask for the extension then. You'd know more exactly how much longer you need. The offer could also be none negotiable if they have the deadline hanging over THEIR head.

As I said, it's hard to give advices not knowing anything.

Good luck.

message 6: by Ken (new)

Ken (kendoyle) | 364 comments Ahmed wrote: "I have a major opportunity, but to get it, I've been given a condition: finish my new book in a month. I'm on chapter 4, and the book still needs about 10 more chapters, and these chapters are huge..."

As Christina said, it depends on the opportunity. If it was a Big Five imprint, I'd do everything humanly possible to meet the deadline. If not, I wouldn't push myself to the point of exhaustion. That's just me, though.

message 7: by J. (new)

J. Rose | 10 comments Yeh, depends on the opportunity. And whether or not they want a draft or a completed book. It could take an editor 3 months just to read your stuff and get it back to you and you don't want to give them crap. If the opportunity is worth it, I would do it, there's no challenge I wouldn't accept. But I write fast and at this point, thank god, I write pretty clean. BUT the story needs editing so if you get a reader to review it as you go, that may save time and get it done! Good luck!

message 8: by Charles (new)

Charles Hash | 1054 comments Definitely need more details to give you sound advice.

message 9: by Ahmed (new)

Ahmed Al-Sheikh | 48 comments I can't give details, not if it doesn't work out. And it involves family. That's all I can say.

message 10: by C.L. (new)

C.L. Lynch (cllynchauthor) | 316 comments If it someone is offering a good financial incentive, I would say reply with "I can make that deadline but you will not get my best writing and the manuscript will need heavy editing. If you would prefer to get something more polished, I will need more time."

message 11: by Rachael (last edited Jul 19, 2016 02:47AM) (new)

Rachael Eyre (rachaeleyre) | 194 comments You know your own capabilities. If you don't think you'll able to do a professional job in that time frame, don't, irrespective of financial incentives. Personally I'd find finishing a book in such a short time impossible, but we're all different.

message 12: by Missy (new)

Missy Sheldrake (missysheldrake) | 252 comments Based on what little information you've given, it sounds like it's not worth the stress. If it was me, I would decline. But, I write for the fun of it and not for the business side.

Looking at it from another perspective, you might try to embrace the challenge and see at it as something to test your limits and your skills. It could be fun if you can let go of the stress of it, try to embrace your gratitude for the impending opportunity, and make the end goal something to look forward to.

Like GG said, though, it is difficult to give sound advice without knowing all the details.

message 13: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 2491 comments Life is short. Use it to do whatever you want to do as much as you can. There will always be duties on which you can't turn your back. For the rest, do as you feel you should so you won't have any regrets.

message 14: by Annie (new)

Annie Arcane (anniearcane) | 629 comments @Mr Ahmed: Like everyone else has already said, it's tough without more details. But...

I'd personally "soft" decline the offer. I prefer to hold all the chips. I dig the idea of saying something like:

"Hey, I really appreciate the offer but quality is my number one priority and I refuse to compromise in that regard. I would love to work with you but I'll need until [insert date]. Let me know if this is feasible. If not, I completely understand."

I realize that this might lose an opportunity. But, yeah, I like being in complete control *shrugs* To be entirely honest, even if I could finish it easily, I'd still negotiate the timeline just based on principle *more shrugging* Yeah, definite control issues...

Just my 2 cents, obviously. Best of luck to you, good sir!!


message 15: by J.S. (new)

J.S. Jaeger (jsjaeger) | 73 comments I agree with what the majority here are saying in that a rushed book won't be your best work. Publishing sub-par work won't benefit you in the long run. I'd also suggest you re-analyze the opportunity and decide if it's a good idea to work with family. I know that's not what the original question was, but speaking from personal lessons learned, working with family can quickly turn into a sticky mess that's hard to clean up.

Good luck with your decision. Please let us know what you decide and how it goes!

message 16: by Pam (new)

Pam Baddeley | 153 comments Ahmed wrote: "I have a major opportunity, but to get it, I've been given a condition: finish my new book in a month. I'm on chapter 4, and the book still needs about 10 more chapters, and these chapters are huge..."

I may be reading too much into the way you've phrased this but it reads to me as if you have been offered an opportunity and to take that up, you have to finish the book you are working on already, unconnected to that opportunity, so that it is not a concern to the third party whether your current book ends up rushed, unedited, not your best work etc.

If so, only you can answer whether the opportunity is worth that, or whether it would be possible to put your book to one side for a temporary period, or maybe work on it in any spare time while you carry out whatever work the opportunity involves.

Sorry to not be able to offer more definite advice, but I thought I would add my 2c as I think perhaps some other respondents have read it as you are doing the current book for the third party? Unless I've got that wrong also....?

message 17: by Lynn (new)

Lynn | 25 comments Even if the opportunity is totally legit, I would pass because I'm a perfectionist and only want to share my very best work, which takes time. If this is a contest, does it run again next year? Are there any similar opportunities sponsored by other organizations that might have better deadlines?

message 18: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Harrop | 7 comments I would make the same point as just about everyone else here, and recommend that you ask yourself why you want to write your book in the first place, but I think that maybe you need to look at your issue a little differently; are you serious about your writing as an art, or are you serious about it as a job? Not that it can't be both; in fact, I would say that it should be both, and every job is a grind at some point. Maybe it would help to view this stretch as time invested. You could push yourself to finish your book and know that you've ground out a result; you've made a deadline. I don't know that making a deadline should be on a level with doing your best work, but it's still an accomplishment and I personally believe that every word written makes you better, even the ones you wish you could rewrite.

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